tv Democracy Now LINKTV August 7, 2012 8:00am-9:00am PDT
08/07/12 08/07/12 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> 40 years old, male. 62 years old, male. >> as memorials are held to remember the sikh worshippers shot dead a wisconsin temple, new details about the gunman. 40-year-old army veteran wade michael page who was killed after the shooting rampage.
he joined to the racist skinhead bands. one of his records showed a disembodied -- punching a black man in the face. >> we can say he was in the military from 1992-1998. he had a general discharge. he was ineligible for reenlistment. i want to make it perfectly clear. right now, he is the only sugar involved at the temple. >> we will speak with mark potok, reporter don walker, and sikh activist simran jeet singh. we look at the case of that for prisoner marvin wilson bridge texas and preparing to kill the man tonight, despite a 2002 supreme court ruling is the execution of the mentally retarded. his iq is 61. all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
wisconsin please have identified the shooter who killed six worshippers at the oak creek sikh temple and critically wounded three others before being shot dead. the gunmen was wade michael page, a white 40-year-old army veteran with links to white supremacist groups. he served as a soldier in the army from 1992 to 1998, when it was discharged for patterns of misconduct. on monday, the southern poverty law center called him a frustrated neo-nazi put in the leader of a racist white power bands. at the white house, president obama called for national soul- searching in the shootings aftermath. >> i think all of us recognize these kinds of terrible tragic events are happening with too much regularity for us to not do some soul-searching and examine
additional ways that we can reduce violence. as i have already said, i think there are a lot of elements involved. i want to bring together law enforcement, committee leaders, faith leaders, elected officials at every level to see how we can make continued progress. >> we will speak with the southern poverty law center and go to milwaukee to talk about the sikh temple shootings. a series of explosives at the chevron all refinery in richmond, california has set off massive fires and health scare for the surrounding communities. the blasts erupted early monday evening, sparking blazing fires that sent large plumes of smoke into the sky. residents of richmond, north richmond, and san paulo or ordered to stay there homes with the windows and doors closed to avoid breathing in hazardous fumes. it was the latest in a series of fires of the more than 100-year old richmond plant. more than 200 people reportedly
have sought medical the treatment for respiratory issues. chevron says the fire has been contained, but not fully extinguished. clashes continued in the syrian city of aleppo in a fierce battle between government forces and rebel fighters. the regime of syrian president bashar al-assad says it has completed a deployment of 20,000 soldiers ahead of what many expect to be pivotal battle for control of syria's largest city. syrian activist groups say at least 40 people were killed in aleppo on monday, most of them civilians. rebel groups meanwhile say they captured more than 40 iranian nationals inside syria fighting for the assad regime. iran says the captives are shia pilgrims who are visiting syria to see religious sites. the syrian government continues to reel from the defection of the prime minister hijab who has accused the side of committing genocide. white house press secretary jay carney says his defection shows al-assad's regime is imploding.
>> we have no reason to doubt the reports about the defection of the prime minister or other members of the government. the particular had of the syrian government has rejected the ongoing slaughter being carried out at al-assad's direction, only reinforcing the al-assad regime is kremlin from within and the syrian people believe assange's days are numbered. >> and the philippines, flood waters continue to rise among the midst torrential rains of killed dozens of people in recent weeks. tens of thousands have fled their homes as the flooding shut down schools and businesses. the water was neck deep in some areas. the recent fighting comes as typhoon hit the philippines more than a week ago, bringing torrential rains and heavy winds and killing more than 50 people. new figures show the number of people in very acute hunger worldwide has grown for the first time this decade. according to oxfam, the food crises and west africa, east africa, and yemen have added
43,000,002 the number of people going hungry across the globe. almost a billion people, or one in seven, of the world's population are going hungry. ecuador is to announce a decision in the next week on whether to grant wikileaks founder julian assange political asylum. he has taken refuge in the embassy in london in a bid to avoid extradition to sweden and ultimately, he says, to the u.s. and his attorney, the spanish judge baltasar garzón, said the british government would have no legal grounds to block his journey to ecuador should he be granted asylum. >> hypothetically, if asylum is granted, great britain and say they will not send him. one can always say no. we're tired of seeing international conventions been breached cannot agree with by different countries.
but legally, they cannot do it because ecuador is a sovereign state. a free, democratic state, exactly like the u.s. -- nothing more and nothing less. >> republican challenger mitt romney continues to lead president obama in the fundraising race. romney pulled them over $101 million in july, beating out obama by $25 million. the figures do not include the additional tens of millions raised by the so-called third party groups, whic. the top two pro-romney super pacs had a war chest of $53 million at the end of june, compared to less than $3 million for the top super pac backing obama. but the obama and romney attended more fundraisers last month and they did public campaign events. speaking on monday at a fundraiser in connecticut, president obama continue to highlight a recent study predicting romney's tax plan would boost the income of the
nation's wealthiest taxpayers, while reducing that of the middle class. obama debuted a new nickname for romney -- the opposite of robin hood, romney could. >> governor romney's plan would effectively raise taxes on middle-class families with children by an average of $2,000. to pay for this tax cut it to as the middle class to pay more in taxes so he could give another $250,000 tax cut to people making more than $3 million a year. it is like robin hood in reverse. [laughter] it is romney hood. >> in what has tickets for the green party continues to add direct actions to its can penitentiary. the green party's presidential nominee jill stein and her running partner cheri honkala or arrested in philadelphia at an anti foreclosure rally targeting the government-backed lender fannie mae. they and four others spent the
night in jail before being released. they have been charged with trespassing and will appear in court next month. a mosque in joplin, missouri has burnt to the ground after suffering its second fire in just over a month. it was set ablaze in the early hours of monday morning. firefighters were unable to contain the fire in time, leaving the mosque completely destroyed. the moscow already been damaged on july 4th when an arsonist was videotaped throwing an ignited object onto its roof. the arsonist was never apprehended. the fbi is joining local police in investigating the latest fire. new york's top banking regulator has accused the british bank of violating u.s. law by hiding hundreds of billions of dollars in transactions linked to iran. new york's department of financial services says standard chartered bank schemed with iran's government despite u.s. economic sanctions to hide tens of thousands of transactions over nearly a decade, generating
hundreds of millions of dollars in fees. the superintendent said in a written order, the bank's actions -- the regulator has threatened to revoke the bank's state license. two undocumented activists who have attracted the brower detention center in florida were released on friday before being arrested again over the weekend calling for the release of other immigrants in detention. viridiana martinez and marco saavedra were effectively kicked out of the detention center after the report of the refused to leave unless other so-called low priority detainees are released. the pair were later arrested along with two other activists at a protest action sunday calling for the release of dozens of immigrants they say are eligible for release under the obama administration's discretionary guidelines. at least one of the activists
was later released. among those detained at the facility is claudio rojas, a father of two with no criminal record who was detained in february and has been on a hunger strike for more than two weeks. activists said more than 500 detainees inside the facility also went on a hunger strike on saturday. meanwhile, the obama administration says forms will be available august 15 for young people under the age of 31 who meet certain criteria to apply for deferred action to avoid deportation under the a ministrations new policy. to hear our exclusive interview with detention activist viridiana martinez, you can go to democracynow.org. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. show thetoday's massacre in the oak creek sikh temple of wisconsin on sunday. more details have come to light about the man who shot dead six worshippers at the temple and critically wounded three others, including a police officer. the gunmen, wade michael page, died in the attack. he is a white, 40-year-old army
veteran. authorities are investigating his links to was the premises groups and his membership in skinhead rock bands. he served as a soldier in the army from 1992 to 1998, when his discharge for patterns of misconduct. he worked in psychological operations, as last edition of fort bragg, north carolina. on monday, the southern poverty law center revealed page was connected to the white supremacist movement and a member of two white power bands named and apathy and definite hate. the southern poverty law center described him as a "frustrated neo-nazi who the leader of a racist white power band." according to a profile in the "milwaukee journal sentinel," he used the phrase "dirt people close >> to describe people who were not white. he lost his job as a truck driver after five years.
he lost his home when it was foreclosed by wells fargo. wade michael page have been on the radar for the fbi for several years. teresa carlson said he did not present an obvious threat. >> we did not have an active investigation on him prior to yesterday. >> [unintelligible] >> there may be references to him in various files, and those are being analyzed right now, but we have no reason to believe, as far as i know, no law enforcement agency had no idea he was planning are capable of such violence. >> to talk more about the significance of the shooting and the identity of the gunmen, we're joined by don walker, a journalist for the "milwaukee journal sentinel," and we're joined by mark potok and mcgurk, alabama. his the director of intelligence project at the southern poverty law center. mark potok, you had his group on
the radar since 2000. talk about the organizations he was a part of >> he describes in the year 2000, essentially entering the white supremacist scene, talking about leaving colorado on his motorcycle with just what he could carry on the bike. essentially, heading out into the world these white power rock-and-roll bands. late in some very well-known bands, a band called blue-eyed devils, one called intimidation one. these are well known on the racist scene. in 2005, he went on to form his own band, which was called in that apathy. i think that is significant because he give an interview a couple of years ago in which he talked about the name of the band. essentially said what he was saying was the white supremacist scene was, a lot of people talked a lot and did not do anything at all. it is a common complaint to hear
from people in that world. essentially, i think it's predicted what ultimately he did. the mass murder he carried out. >> don walker, in milwaukee, you have a very comprehensive profile of his life. can you give us a thumbnail sketch of who page was? where he was born and the trajectory his life took? >> he was born in colorado. his mother died at a relatively early age. his father remarried. we spoke to his stepmother yesterday, and she explained by all accounts, he had a very normal upbringing. loved to fish and hunt, during just typical growing up things young kid to. -- things young kids do.
as reported, he joined the army in 1992 and served until 1998. i think it is noticeable -- notable he served for a time in fort bragg, which during a particular time, there's a great deal of white supremacist activity both on the base and off. we don't know he was directly connected to it, but we do know he was certainly exposed to it. >> he was in psychological operations at both bliss and bragg? >> i would have to say that is a bit of a head scratcher. my understanding of that type of discipline is sophisticated. no one we have talked to has expressed surprised he had been in that program. we talk to a psychiatrist who says that is like going from the lobby to the 20th floor very quickly. so that is somewhat of a
surprise. apparently, it did not last long. he did some other jobs in the military, including repairing missiles. he was exposed to a wide variety of tasks in the army, but the work in phy-ops is a bit of a mystery. >> if you could explain what that is? >> it is the use and dissemination of information for strategic purposes. we're not necessarily learning was specifically he did there, but essentially it is about manipulating the information. one may call it propaganda, though maybe that is a stretch. certainly, it is a way of conveying information to the strategic benefit of your side. >> how come he was forced out of the military? what happened? >> in your opening, you mentioned he had been excused or let out because of misconduct.
i would only point out, that is what people have told us. there is no specific paperwork or any kind of confirmation of that, but certainly people told us who served with him at the time that he was a nazi sympathizer, and insubordinate in many cases. he was given what they called a general discharge, which is different than an honorable discharge and certainly different than a dishonorable discharge, and was told he could not reenlist. the fbi has seized those records, so we're not able to find out more about that. >> according to go creek police chief, john edwards, in 1998, he was given a general discharge, a cut below hon.. don walker, talk about where he went from there, coming out of the military, some 14 years ago. >> an assortment of jobs, as reported -- truck driving jobs.
he lived in north carolina. we believe he went to colorado. more recently, he showed up in the milwaukee area. we're not quite certain why he did that, but moved to a suburb not all that far from the sikh temple or the attacks occurred. -- where the attacks occurred. somewhat menial work, factory work. he had very few belongings. he moved in with a girlfriend who had a child. many of his neighbors we have spoken with talked about him averting eye contact, not really interacting with people. they did not make much of it, but certainly he was not the kind of person who was outgoing and gregarious. he ultimately move to a suburb very close to the sikh temple called cudahy. it is there he apparently planned his attack. >> and his economic
circumstances? he was recently foreclosed upon? >> yes, he lost his home in january -- or i should say late last year -- in north carolina. the home was valued at approximately $165,000. the bank took it over and it is bank didn't. -- it is vacant. >> it is right near the airport on the road to the airport? >> correct. he was earning enough money, we believe, to sustain that or pay for that home, but the bank took it over when he failed to pay. >> so he gets out of the military, it gets into major financial trouble, but let's go back to mark potok. it wasve written in 200 found he attempted to purchase goods from the neo-nazi national
alliance. tell us who they are. >> the national alliance back then in the year 2000 was by far the most important hate group in the united states. it was an organization of about 1400 people led by former university physics professor, of all things, named william pierce. i think some of the listeners will recall him because he is the author of the race war novel called "the turner diaries" which has often been described as the bible of the extreme rights. wasdo not know what's page trying to buy, but what is true in what he did buy, the national alliance on something called resistance records. at the time, this was the premier distributor of white power music in u.s. our best guess is he was buying music. merely the fact he had contact
with the national alliance suggests once again that he was very much in the center of this world. >> i want to go to one of his songs. ♪ >> if you would, mark potok, talk about the music and the messages in the music and to these groups are like end apathy, what is meant by that. >> i could not even hear the words. we tried listening to several of his tracks yesterday and able to distinguish very little in terms of what he was actually saying, and that is fairly typical of music and it was a promised world. -- white supremacist world.
it is a large underworld that the public basically knows nothing about. the music is terribly important to the white supremacist seen in a couple of ways. first of all, it is the no. 1 earner. these groups have very few ways of bringing in money and are typically, essentially, destituted. in 2000, the national alliance was bringing $6,000 to $7,000 in its music, which is extraordinary. also, the music has turned out to be the most effective recruiting tool for bringing young people into the movement. people will start listening to this music, typically on the internet. they're 16 or 17 and the music they listen to hundreds and hundreds of times and essentially, the message seeps into their brain. at that point, some percentage of those kids walk out of their parents' houses and walking to grow skin had concert, and that is typically where we see real
recruitment happen. >> how to find out someone is buying products from said the national alliance? what does it mean to say you track these groups? do you work with law- enforcement? >> we don't work with law enforcement in the sense of exchanging a great deal of information, but we do train law enforcement officials in domestic terrorism. we give presentations. we may go to the utah gang investigators, for instance, and give a presentation about groups in utah. that kind of thing. what it means we track these groups is the centrally to a whole lot open source kind of data collection. that ranges from the very simple -- collected newspaper articles and that sort of thing, monitoring the internet -- to the somewhat complicated -- getting into email groups,
private groups, listening to shortwave radio broadcasts. we act like any investigative newspaper would in the sense that typically, the leader of a group will start sleeping with someone other than his girlfriend and the next thing you know, the girlfriend angrily is coming to us with information. there are a whole lot of different kinds of streams we bring together as we monitor these groups. sometimes we will even come across business records or perhaps they will be provided to us by someone in the movement. >> can you talk about what is labeled 56? they issued a statement saying, "we have worked hard over the years to have a positive image, encouraging people to take a positive pat and mike." >> let me say briefly that is better hogwash. it isn't a straight neo-nazi website. they did put up that --
it is a straight man not to website. the site is still thick with white supremacist material. we believe lake 56, we believe the 56 stands for e f, the 5th and 6th letters of the alphabet. we understand it stands for eastern front. essentially, the idea was the racist skinhead movement needed to move more to the eastern part of the u.s. it had been heavily concentrated in the midwest and west coast. it is a relatively small label, certain compared to groups like resistance records. >> they issued a statement, label 56 that said, "please don't take what wade did as honorable and respectable and do not think we are all like that." what do you think needs to be done, mark? you have been following was the
premises at age groups for decades. -- what supremacist groups for decades. one person said he was looking for page and started to look up articles -- this was before the massacre -- because he thought this is where he could be going. interestingly, the guy who was interviewed was horrified by this, though he was a part of these groups. >> i have got to say, certainly, we saw nothing that particularly distinguished page from thousands of other people who live in the same world he did. i don't really find any fault with law enforcement. don't see how this could have been predicted in any real sense by law enforcement officials. i suppose it is different if you were close to the guy and talked him on a regular basis. all that said, with a reporter who is on with us said, i think is very important.
the idea he was in the military and specifically at fort bragg at a time when there was a real scandal about neo-nazis in fort bragg playing this music, openly indoctrinating other soldiers. there was a black couple who were murdered outside fort bragg by neo-nazi skinheads who in fact were in the military. we spent a lot of time over the last three or four years doing investigative work and lobbying the pentagon to essentially and pose a zero tolerance rule on the extremists in the military. what was going on a few years ago in 2006, specifically, when we rode in an investigative piece was they were allowing the recording of these people. not as policy, but a factual matter. simply because they're having difficulties meeting recruitment quotas for afghanistan the bush administration and in the obama administration very much
resisted taking this change initially, but finally, in response to our stories and lobbying and letters to the department of homeland security and so on, in fact the pentagon did change the rules and impose the zero tolerance policy in late 2009. the hope is at least this guy would have been found and probably kick out of the military earlier. i'm not sure that would have prevented anything in terms of this attack, but i think is important to try to keep these people out of our military. >> page has a 14-were tattoo. i want to turn to a clip from a short documentary "white power usa" a big noise fence that aired on al jazeera english. it features white supremacist musicians. >> we already have a president who is out to destroy us and what we stand for.
i did not elect a communist to run this country. if we do not take care of it, then we will lose our right -- >> in this shed in the middle of the arizona desert, hosted a white supremacist skinhead culture. here and across the country, why parker say there energizing and growing. for them, obama's election in the economic meltdown are with that calls for white america. and catalysts for the coming race war. they say white pride is their only defense in an insecure a changing world. >> america is in crisis. i am petrified whether i am working the next day or not. this is the last thing we got to stand on, manfred >> he is the lead singer of one of the most popular bands in the skin had market. he said they give voice to a silent majority who is really a
free to speak about their fears. >> this world is full of sheep being led to the slaughter. >> that is a clip from "white power usa." mark potok, comment on that, but also, what has happened since president obama came into office? of these white parks proliferated? have they become more powerful? have they been making more threats? >> what has happened is an absolutely explosive growth of groups on the radical right in general. we have never seen this kind of growth. other kinds of groups, we still call militias in the 1990's, have grown at an unbelievable -- what we used to call militias in the 1990's, have grown at an unbelievable pace. 1240 last year.
as the voice-over in the documentary you played says, it is changing the racial demographics as represented in the president barack obama. these people realize the census bureau has predicted white people in the united states will lose their majority by about the year 2015, falling under 50% of the population. -- by the year 2015, falling under 50% of the population. they feel the world is closing in around them. the way they talk about the situation right now is a genocide is being carried out against white people in this country, and in general, in the world. many of the groups talk about whites is the most endangered species on the planet, of all things. we see this quite commonly, this sense they are sinking.
this is the last possible moment, the country's going down, and so on and so forth. the bottom line is, we are living in a very scary time, a very scary moment. i have to say, this attack -- we did not know about the particulars before this happened -- but i do not think was much of a surprise to many who do the kind of work we do. this is our anders breivik, the man who murdered 77 norwegians last july, july 2011, because he thought they were unable in muslim immigration and -- were in neighboring muslim integration into norway. there is an immense amount of anti-muslim propaganda in the main street and french groups like this. sad to say, i do not think this attack was all that surprising. >> thank you for being with us, mark potok, director of
by family members of the president of the temple who was shot dead on sunday. on monday, president obama said the nation needs soul-searching after sunday's rampage. >> we don't yet know fully what motivated this individual to carry out this terrible act. if it turns out, as some early reports indicate, that it may have been motivated in some way by the ethnicity of those who were attending the temple, i think the american people immediately recoil against those kinds of attitudes. i think it will be important for us to reaffirm once again that in this country, regardless of what would look like, where we come from, who we worship, we're all one people. and we will look after one another and respect one another.
>> to talk more about the shooting at the sikh temple of wisconsin, we're joined by simran jeet singh, a sikh activist and doctoral candidate in the department of religion at columbia university. he wrote an article titled "as a sikh american, i refuse to live in fear and negativity." don walker is still with us. you've been reporting on this extensively since sunday. the reaction of the sikh community and the overall milwaukee community? >> right after the shooting occurred, many people are prone to rush to the scene, for better or for worse, sometimes that complicates law enforcement, but these were people who wanted to help. the sikh people themselves also offered assistance while police were cleaning out the temple and checking into it.
the sikh community reaching out to journalist and law- enforcement, offering them food and refreshment. it was that kind of atmosphere on sunday. last night, hundreds of people of all faiths showed up at the sikh temple, the other one in suburban milwaukee, to pay their respects and condolences. governor scott walker was on hand with his wife. there's a lot of that happening, a lot of vigils. people, frankly, feel very badly about this. this is a small group, approximately 3000 sikhs live and worship in southeastern wisconsin. it is a community that is growing people come from all walks of life -- cabbies, gas station owners, surgeons, group of and widespread o people. the committee of other faiths
have offered their assistance in any way they can. >> don walker, thank you for being with us. we turn to simran jeet singh. talk to your community. you are also a religion doctoral student at columbia. >> generally, the committed the -- community is going through a roller-coaster of emotions. they're feeling sadness, hurt, feeling targeted and alienated. as he was briefly mentioning with us just now, there is this deeper appreciation and outpouring of support from the broader community, both in milwaukee and on a national level. the community is feeling a wide range of emotions. >> he wrote a piece as a sikh american, i refuse to live in fear and negativity. talk about your own response. >> sure. according to basic sikh
teachings, the basic principles encourages us to respond with positive love and compassion, no matter the situation. gurus teach us to accept the will of the divine gracefully. the idea for us is with that love, we have moments of suffering, you feel empathy and compassion and the pain of others, the new use that momentum and the connection with people to create something positive. that is kind of the discourse in the movement i wanted to push forward as a collective response, both on a sikh level and a national level. >> talk about your feelings. in the streets of new york, and talking with other sikhs after 9/11, the increase in hate attacks. today will will be a news conference in queens at a sikh
temple with congressman crowley and others who have been speaking, for a while now, about the increase in threats against sikhs. >> i guess i would call attention to what i was saying earlier, in the sense that there is a deep tension in what the sikh community is feeling. on one hand we feel frustrated, feel like we have been continuing targeted and persecuted in america since 9/11. i have personally experienced this, but not to the level of those who have been killed or bullied in school, verbally and physically assaulted. i have experience that, but the scale is smaller. >> what have you personally experienced? >> growing up in south texas, which is where i grew up, i remember my first memory of being bullied was in elementary school when the young boys would not allow me to go into the
boys' bathroom. they said, you can come back when you have short hair like us. they pushed me into the girls' bathroom. that was deeply humiliating for me. my siblings and i were involved in sports. we would not be allowed to participate in our soccer games or boss the ball games. when referee told me, i know you're hiding bombs and knives in their, and kick me off the field. >> in your turban? >> yes. after 9/11, immediately our family received phone calls, death threats, and this has continued. when i moved to boston to begin my boss did -- graduate work at harvard, i hoped things would change with time and moving to a generally more liberal part of the country. moving to boston, new york, things have not really changed. last year was running the new york marathon, for example, and some kids were throwing rocks at
me insane, "let's get bin laden." people were shouting insults. what i really see here is a consistent pattern. >> when you're running the marathon and kids were throwing stones, or other runners helping you? >> other runners were not, the other spectators were. this is part of the detention. on one hand we have an overwhelming amount of support, as we see in response to the wisconsin massacre, and on the other hand there are people who go out of their way to make us feel isolated and alienated and target us. sometimes, as an individual and those attacks outweighed the proper amount of support. >> can you explain the cultural significance of the turban, and
one man do not cut their hair? >> i should point out, in general, women and men do not cut their hair. the turban is more likely to it be seen on a male, but a woman can choose to wear one also. there are many reasons that sikhs understand why they keep their hair and wore a turban. for me, in particular, i understand my turban as a public symbol, as a public commitment to tell everyone, "this turban represents what my principles are, the sikh principles of love, integrity, justice." i ask people to hold me accountable. that is one of the basic reasons. the other is, and this is probably the central reason for me, i view my identity, my turban, my bracelet i wear -- we have five articles of faith that sikhs wear. i view these as gifts from my
guru. the relationship of love, you accept those gifts, just like it a spouse was to give you a wedding ring. you don't really question why they give it to you, you just appreciate and chairs the value of that particular object. it may not have the same feeling for anyone else, but it is deeply personal. >> what are your thoughts on the shooter, wade page, who was killed by a police officer at the massacre site, being a white supremacist? >> as with every other american, i am deeply disturbed. it calls attention to a larger systemic problem, i think. we see this time and again with the aurora shootings and what gabby giffords went through. these acts of hatred and violence really call attention
to a longstanding culture of fear. and this is something that's you can look in the last century of history, it is riddled with fear whether it is japanese americans, african-americans, coming as americans. and a way which our culture has responded to different communities is very troubling to me. it happens to be today this happen to a sikh committee and could very well happen to a muslim community. in my eyes, the new age of african americans and japanese americans who you target are sikh americans and muslim americans. it is understandable for me to be sitting here in the post as /11 context, a sikh to do would be targeted more than an african-american or a jew. >> and the cost of explanations that no sikhs are not muslims. >> it is an important
distinction to make. as we see, the source of the problem, i believe, is largely ignorant. this is an important opportunity to educate ourselves and say, sikhs are not muslims or hindus. >> and it is the fifth largest in the world with 25 million people? >> correct. approximately 700,000 in the u.s. it is a large community that people have been a not know about. at the same time, i am a little troubled by the discourse. but he pointed to the fact sikhs are not muslims, but even if it happened to muslims, it is not ok and we would stand up against that. what occurred in joplin yesterday, it is similar to what we saw in wisconsin. but for some reason, it is not
receiving the same sort of media attention and that is troubling to me. >> as we wrap up, how is your community and other committed these organizing right now? what gives you hope and what makes you afraid? >> there's much to be hopeful for. i am inspired by the reactions that people have had an to this point. there are candlelight vigils being organized throughout the country. americans have been invited to attend a service this week. >> and that means? >> the place of worship. where the sikhs gather. >> where there were killed in oak creek. >> yes. americans have been invited to these programs. there have been fundraisers established to help support the medical expenses, fuel costs of the victims in wisconsin. -- funeral costs of the victims in wisconsin.
there have been education campaigns, awareness efforts. there's a lot of reason to see this as a possible turning point for american society, where we all come together and say, "let's stop allowing ourselves to participate in this culture of fear." that is what i'm looking for it to in the future. >> simran jeet singh, thank you very much for being with us, a sikh community activist. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. when we come back, tonight, a man scheduled to die in texas who has an iq of 61, despite the supreme court 2002 ruling that people with mental retardation should not be executed. we will find out more. stay with us. ♪ [music break] ♪ [music break]
70 that proves his mentally impaired, and therefore ineligible for the death penalty. marvin wilson was convicted of murdering jerry wilson -- jerry williams during a 1992 fight. witnesses say wilson and an accomplice conducted williams because they thought he had given police details that previously led to wilson's arrest on drug charges. williams was on the next day on the side of the road, he'd been beaten and shot in the head and neck. after wilson was sentenced to die, the supreme court later barred states from executing prisoners with mental retardation. despite claims by wilson's family members that he sucked his thumb into adulthood, texas argues the iq test showing he is developmentally disabled was impartially administered. federal appeals courts have declined to overturn the state's decision. texas state senator rodney ellis, democrat of houston, was cited in a new york times op-ed piece saying --
unless texas governor rick perry or the supreme court intervenes, 53-year-old marvin wilson will be put to death tonight, shortly after 6:00 p.m. central time. he will be the second prisoner executed using a single drug protocol. for more we're joined in baltimore by attorney lee kovarsky, who spent the past six years working on marvin wilson's appeals, largely pro bono, and is an assistant professor at the university of maryland law school. also joined in washington, d.c. by richard deiter, executive director of the death penalty information center. let's first go to lee kovarsky. talk about marvin wilson's case, the man slated to die tonight. >> thank you, may. he fits comfortably in any definition of mental
retardation. his adoptive functioning is even worse. if you believe the supreme court decision and at commencement we do not execute mentally retarded offenders because, as he said, there are less culpable and less capable of mounting defenses that prevent them from being subjected to the death penalty, if you take that ruling seriously, then this is sort of the quintessential case and which you would not impose that -- >> what are the possibilities today of a reprieve? >> there are a few things going on, each with varying degrees of likelihood. the most important thing is we need the supreme court of the u.s. to intervene and issue a
state, so it can provide orderly consideration to the issue of whether the texas factors for considering a majority of asian unreasonably apply-- considering mental retardation unreasonably applied. >> lee kovarsky, briefly, can you describe the murder that marvin wilson was convicted of? >> sure. marvin and his accomplice terry lewis had a chance encounter with the victim at a gas station. as you noted, the victim was a confidential informant who was not that confidential at that particular time, and he had given information to the police that led to martin's arrest the week before. so when they bumped into
williams at the gas station, an altercation ensued. the two men forced williams into a car. what happens after that is unclear. there is no forensic evidence or eyewitness testimony. the next morning, the body is found by the sight of the road in the manner you described -- by the side of the road in the manner you described. there's testimony from one witnessing after the incident at the convenience store that there was a sound that could have either been a gunshot or discharge from a nearby refinery. the forensics experts say a trial that mr. williams actually died the next morning, so it would not have been whatever sound person heard. more importantly, martin is on death row and his
accomplice has a life sentence is the only evidence that martin and not the accomplice was the shooter is the testimony of the accomplices wife saying that morgan admitted he did it. >> richard deiter, is this part of a pattern, the story of marvin wilson of executing people who have been determined to be mentally retarded? in texas and around the country, and since really have a minute, if you could talk about the issue of the one drug execution drug going to be used? >> this is absolutely a pattern in texas. they have resisted the supreme court's ruling on mental retardation for decades. in this case, have usurped the supreme court's ruling by defining mental retardation own way outside of the scientific community. that is the key issue here. generally, i don't think that is what other states are doing. they have adopted the standard
scientific definition for mental retardation. a lot of people have been taken off of death row and executed because of this ruling. but texas stands pretty much alone in this. with respect to lethal injection, texas is perhaps leading the way, but also experimenting with new drugs, new process seize on human subjects. that is disturbing. but the trend is toward one drug, toward using a drug called pentobarbital, an anesthetic, and that is with the execution is planned tonight. it seems to be the way states are going now. >> and this pentobarbital, the way texas got it, even that has been an issue with the court to manning may reveal this information. it is increasingly hard for states to get this as the company that makes this product in europe says they do not want used in the u.s. to execute
people. >> that is right. it turns out a lot of our drugs are made in europe. that a strong position against the death penalty in europe. this was produced by a company in denmark. they clearly have said it does not -- they do not wanted to be used that way. it goes to wholesalers and is hard to track it to. but it will be ongoing as states try to find the drug that is available and carries out their wishes to kill the inmate. >> thank you for being with us, again, we'll continue to follow this case through the day, the case of marvin wilson. will he be executed by the state of texas? thank you to richard deiter and lee kovarsky. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]